Don’t Give up on Your Compost Waste Bin Just Yet: Dealing with Fruit Flies
The main reason I see people giving up on having an indoor compost waste bin is because of the number of fruit flies it seemingly attracts. With each lift of the lid, a waft of decaying vegetable matter and swarms of fruit flies fill the air. These people who want to do good are understandably put off by the disgusting condition of their bin. With what I have observed, there are two effective solutions to this problem.
If you are dealing with a bin full of fruit flies, you should consider whether or not it is the compost attracting the flies into your home. Whenever I have had fruit fly problems, it has never stemmed from a problematic compost bin, but from another part of the kitchen — usually, the sink.
When dishes pile up, and more importantly, when food particles are left to decompose, it creates a favorable environment for the fruit flies. If you are unable to deal with your dishes after you eat, at the very least, rinse them and dispose of large pieces of food. Try cleaning the counters and sink once a week, if not more often. Pick up crumbs from the floors — you may as well work on deterring any future ant problems. Bathrooms may also pose as an attractive residence for the flies. Keep the bathroom sink and counters clean.
Sometimes it really is the compost bin that is the problem. While your indoor compost waste bin is just a temporary holding space for decaying organic matter, keep in mind that having a bin with a high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is essential for easy maintenance and effective composting in general.
So what may be happening? Your compost bin may have a higher nitrogen-to-carbon ratio, resulting in an anaerobic environment, which contributes to a (horrifically) fragrant bin. Remember to compost newspapers, cardboard, paper towels, napkins, and other paper products (opt for unbleached options). These materials will also help soak up excess moisture. An extra step you can do is to wash your bin after every time you empty it.
Issues with composting will come up at least every now and then. A setback should not let you give up completely on this alternative means of waste disposal. Everybody who has had a compost waste bin has had to deal with problems, and those who continue to do it have found a solution for most, if not all, of them. With our collective knowledge, we can help each other with maintaining healthy compost bins.